From Amy Qin, a China correspondent, and Elsie Chen, a researcher, on the ground in Wuhan:
We came prepared, bringing with us two bags full of masks, hand sanitizer, goggles and disinfectant wipes to protect us as we went around reporting in Wuhan, the Chinese city at the center of the coronavirus outbreak.
But after arriving last Friday, my colleague Elsie Chen and I quickly realized we had overlooked an important question: What do you eat when covering the coronavirus outbreak?
Since the government imposed a lockdown in this city of 11 million two weeks ago, most of the restaurants have been shut. Grocery stores are still open, and many residents have stockpiled food to cook at home. But back at our hotel, we didn’t even have a microwave, let alone a stovetop.
Exhausted from a long day of travel, we realized there was only one answer: instant noodles.
Two days and four bowls of sodium-packed instant noodles later, my stomach felt as if it had deteriorated into a churning sack of MSG, salt and dehydrated beef cubes.
Knowing it could be days or weeks before we were able to leave Wuhan, Elsie and I made an executive decision: It was time for an upgrade.
We went to one of the large supermarkets and bought a small electric cooktop, groceries and some basic utensils. Stir-fried tomato and egg, the most basic of Chinese dishes, has never tasted so good.
Of course, we couldn’t leave out the chili oil goddess, savior to Chinese students around the world when they’re missing a taste of home: Lao Gan Ma, or Old Godmother.